Despite continued opposition from the Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and civil rights groups, Michael McConnell, President Bush’s nominee for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, was approved by the US Senate Friday in a voice vote. McConnell, who is known for his staunch opposition to abortion rights, will now serve a lifelong term on the “court of last resort” for the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Today, the Senate is debating the nomination of anti-civil rights, anti-women’s rights Judge Dennis Shedd to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A vote is expected sometime this week.
Both Shedd and McConnell were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Nine Democratic members of the committee voted against Shedd, a former staff member of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), who is famous for his consistent opposition to civil rights, while only one Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), voted against McConnell – who has consistently advocated for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and declared the landmark abortion rights decision unconstitutional. The Utah law professor also signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law and applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). These votes were in stark contrast to a committee that before the November elections delayed votes on both McConnnell and Shedd.
If approved by the full Senate, Shedd would be given a lifetime position on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Thirty percent of the citizens of those states are African-American, while there is no African-American judge on the Fourth Circuit, Senator Dianne Feinstein noted before the judiciary committee voted last week.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .